There are some people who are aware of metal music but are not familiar with black metal. As far as Black Metal, there is a lot of debate about the topic, especially the definition of the genre itself. This is because there are two schools of thought.
Different views of black metal music
There is the purist view, which defines black metal based on underground acts. Such underground acts have a distinct and rawer style.
A second school of thought defines the genre through a more inclusive, wider definition, and it includes other bands like Dimmu Borgir, Dissection and Emperor. Such bands do have superior production value and they are typically more technical compared to their underground counterparts. The bands have more melodic sounds compared to the other cruder sounding bands, and they give a stronger focus to the keyboards. In some cases, the categorization includes Viking metal bands like Einherjer and Mithotyn, and they may be falsely and lazily considered as black metal.
The basic features of black metal
Black metal is not that easy to describe and it is pretentious and vague. Black metal is the extreme subgenre of metal, and it is characterized by the shrieked and snarled vocals with the raucous tremolo riff. The bass, for all intents and purposes, is non-existent. The production is raw and trebly, and common bands tend to adopt the simple style as other mainstream acts may be more technical. The use of technicality is most of the time frowned upon and soloing is rarely used. However, a discernible vocal style may be used often but in conjunction with the harsher shrieking style. The keyboard is adopted and neoclassical and folk elements can be included.
Ideologies behind black metal
Contrary to death and trash metal, black metal has its own philosophy. It is not easy to say the complete definition of black metal without taking into account its ideology. Black metal is considered to be anti-Christian or Satanist. The Satanism ranges in different levels from the medieval style of worshipping Satan to the latest way of Church of Satan worship. There are some who have chosen to follow the old Norse religion, while others go for a strong nationalist outlook. The feature found in most metal bands is a fascination with the past. There are many bands that involve anachronism like the medieval sounding instrumentations and melodies. They also use the clothes inspired by the past and they harp about the return of the past. The writing of Tolkien has exerted a great influence on black metal compared to the writing of Anton Lavey.
When it comes to black metal, there is no way to define it in a fixed way because of the musical diversity of the genre. It is nearly impossible to construct a single definition. Even if there are many people who say the opposite, it is true that black metal is an incredibly varied genre compared to death metal.